Toronto rapper Houdini identified as victim of deadly daylight shooting in Entertainment District
Published Wednesday, May 27, 2020 12:05PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 27, 2020 3:30PM EDT
A well-known Toronto rapper has been identified as the 21-year-old man shot and killed in a brazen shooting in the city’s Entertainment District on Tuesday evening.
Police say Dimarjio Jenkins, who is also known by friends and fans as Houdini, was gunned down in broad daylight at around 4 p.m. in the area of King Street West and Blue Jays Way.
Officers rushed to the busy downtown intersection after receiving multiple calls about shots fired in the area and located Jenkins suffering from gunshot wounds at the scene.
Two other victims, a 15-year-old boy and a 27-year-old woman, were also shot during the incident.
Jenkins and the teenage boy were transported to hospital in critical condition and the female victim, who suffered serious injuries, was also taken to hospital for treatment.
Jenkins was pronounced dead a short time later.
Police Chief Mark Saunders said preliminary evidence suggests that the suspects involved in the shooting were waiting in a vehicle for 40 minutes prior to the gunfire and that the deceased was likely “targeted.”
“It turns out the suspect vehicle, based on the evidence we have right now, was waiting for about forty minutes for the occupants of another vehicle to arrive to their vehicle,” he said. “When they did, the suspect vehicle made a U-turn, came out, and started firing at this group of individuals.”
The gunman, Saunders said, got out of the passenger side of the vehicle and opened fire before getting back into the car.
The suspect vehicle, which has been described as a blue Volkswagen Tiguan, fled the area southbound on Blue Jays Way, westbound on Front Street, and then northbound on Spadina Avenue.
Saunders said the female who was shot appears to have been a bystander.
“By all indications it looks like this female who was shot had nothing to do with this,” he said.
Both the woman and the 15-year-old boy are expected to recover from their injuries.
The teen, police say, is also facing charges in connection with the shooting after he allegedly returned fire, a police source told CP24 on Wednesday.
The exact charges have not been released but the source said they are "gun-related."
The shooting took place in an area that ordinarily sees a high volume of foot traffic during the day.
Witnesses reported hearing as many as 10 gunshots before police quickly arrived on scene.
“People were running everywhere, people were screaming,” one witness told CP24 on Wednesday morning. “I saw a man run from Blue Jays Way into the alleyway, kind of limping and slowly fall to his knees.”
She said officers arrived minutes later.
A firearm was recovered at the scene but it is not clear if the weapon was used in the fatal shooting.
The police chief said so far officers have gathered a large amount of evidence, including video surveillance footage.
“This was very brazen, this offence that took place,” he said Tuesday. “However, it’s very solvable.”
Victim described as 'rising star'
Lawyer Jag Virk, who told CP24 that Jenkins was a client of his, described the emerging rapper as a “very kind, humble young man.”
“He was a very, very talented young man,” Virk said on Wednesday. “A very talented musician.”
Virk said Jenkins was finally starting to see some recognition for his work and had plans to record more music this summer in Los Angeles but was stuck in Toronto due to travel restrictions in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the 21-year-old was going to be “the next big thing out of Toronto.”
According to a profile recently published by Complex Canada, Houdini was one of Canada’s most streamed independent rappers in 2019, with 19.2 million plays on Spotify last year alone.
“He had a lot of fans and a lot of young fans as well, so for them it is very shocking,” Virk said. “He had a very bright future ahead of him.”
In a statement emailed to CP24, HipHopCanada called Houdini's death "a devastating blow to the Toronto and Canadian music community."
"He was an independent rising star widely considered on his way to 'making it' in the music industry and appreciation for his music already extended way past the GTA," the statement read.
"Very few Canadian hip-hop artists have been able to achieve the views and streams independently that Houdini did, which makes the fact that he didn't get to take his career to the next level even more devastating. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans."